Peanut Butter Frosting

I meant to put this up over the weekend.  Oh well.  This frosting is one of my favourites,  and it’s really quick to make, and it tastes super yummy!

Peanut Butter Frosting

We had a bake sale for a local family this weekend, so I made a few cakes to sell.  Pretty pleased with the results!

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1/2 cup of margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter**
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of milk

Cream together margarine and peanut butter.  **You may want to add more than 1/2 cup.  I always do, because I like my frosting to really tasty like peanut butter.  Gradually add in the icing sugar.  You may need more if you added more peanut butter.  Your frosting will appear dry.  Add a few tablespoons of milk, and beat until creamy.

For an extra-special peanut treat, you can make a chocolate cake to go with the recipe using a cake mix.  However, instead of the oil, put in 1/2 cup of margarine, and about 1/4 cup of peanut butter, and then add your other ingredients according to the package.

Happy 2nd Birthday (Cake!)

The little guy will be turning two on Wednesday.  Today is the day of his party.  Here’s how I made his birthday cake:

Using an old family recipe for chocolate cake, I made a cake in my half-sheet pan.  This chocolate cake recipe is my grandmother’s, and everyone has it on their birthday.

I mixed up some frosting using Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.

I divided the frosting, and tinted the first part green, and then started to spread it on the cake.

I used a tooth pick to etch out where I wanted my ‘2’ to be.

I should mention that at this point, the dog was already outside.

The reason being for what she did to his baptism cake a year and a half ago.

She was definitely not the taste tester I had in mind.  Anyway, back to the cake.  I spread black frosting in between my ‘2’ lines, and topped with car gummies that I had found at the bulk barn.

Happy second birthday!

Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1 1/2c flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 2/3 c oil
  • 1 c sour milk (put 1T of vinegar in a measuring cup, and fill with milk until you reach 1c)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients together.  Put in a pan and back at 350° for 35-40min.

**Note** I doubled this recipe for my half-sheet pan.  I also reduced the temp to 325°, and baked for 25 minutes.  The above directions are for a tube pan.

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the case for my cake:

It’s an under-the-bed storage container that hubs found at Home Hardware.  It fits this size of cake perfectly!

How to Make Macarons

What is that?  You may be asking.  Well, my friends, it is a delicious little French cookie called a macaron (say macaroni without the ‘i’, and you’ve got the pronouncation down).  It is delicious, and gluten-free!  I was first introduced to these by Bakerella (check out her blog!), who was introduced by Tartlette.  They are a little finicky, and do take some advance planning, but are SO WORTH IT!  It was also my chance to use this bad boy for the first time:

I got it on sale at Candian Tire for less than 10 dollars.  And I also got to use my wonderful little chopper because I had halved the batch of cookies:

Now, here are all the ingredients you need for the cookies:

That’s right, folks.  4 ingredients is all you need!

Step 1: Age your egg whites.  I was making a half batch, so I used 45g of egg whites, and aged them on the counter for 1 day.  You can refrigerate your eggs after they’ve aged, but they should sit for at least a day.  Apparently you can age them for up to 5.

Step 2: With and electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high until they become foamy.  Add up to 25g of white sugar.  You’ll have enough when it’s shiny and stiff peaks form.

Step 3: Using a food process or chopper, finely grind up 55g of blanched almonds and 100g of powdered sugar.  You may need to separate out the lumps and process a second time.

Step 4: Add the almond mixture in with the eggs and begin to fold.  At this point, you may wish to add in some food colouring.  Both Barerella and Tartlette recommend powdered food colouring, but I couldn’t find any.  I used liquid, and I think it turned out ok.  Maybe gel would work?

Step 5: Put the mixture in a pastry bag with a circle tip.  On parchment paper, make circles of almond-sugary goodness.

Let them sit for about half an hour until a skin forms, then bake them at 300 for about 20 minutes.  Mine browned a little on the edges, so next time I will cook them a little lower for a little longer.  They will puff up beautifully.  If you want to make a filling, a chocolate ganache, it only required two ingredients:

1/4 cup of cream, and 4oz of semi-sweet chipits.  I melted them in the microwave.  When both the cookies and the ganache has cooled, you can spread the ganache on the macarons, and allow them to set.

Now I ate some right away, and they were good, but I made a plate for some guests, and then hubs put the rest in the fridge for me.  They were AMAZING that night, and even better when they were completely cooled and set.

A half batch made about 12 or 13… I forget how many exactly, because I think I had eaten at least 1 by this point.  They were really good, but not perfect.  They were hallow (which they weren’t supposed to be), and they had browned.  I am definitely trying them again.  In fact, there are egg whites ageing on the counter as we speak…

Crockpot Apple Crisp

We had thanksgiving dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house.  Their house is in the middle of an apple orchard (in fact, my uncle’s family has an apple u-pick), so whenever we visit in the fall, we go out and get some apples.  Hubs and my darling son went out and played in the orchard and got a few good pics:

I guess maybe there was a little apple sampling going along with the picking (my husband calls it ‘quality control’).  Anyway, I told them that I wanted some Cortland apples to make an apple crisp, and I received some beautiful good-sized apples:

The first thing I did was core them and chop them.  I did not peel them.  Everyone in our house likes apple peels, and hey, they’ve got a lot of nutrients for them, I’m not throwing them out!  Besides, they turn pretty mushy, and you won’t even notice them.  I cut up approximately 6 cups of apples and put them in the bottom of my slow cooker.  And here’s why I saw ‘approximately 6 cups’.  I had someone helping me out there, too.

I then mixed together 2T of cornstarch, 2T of brown sugar, and some cinnamon sugar in with the apples, topping them off with 2T of lemon juice.

I don’t make pie crust very often, so I whipped out my seldom used pastry cutter for this next step.  I mixed 1/2 c of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown, 1 cup of flour, almost 1t of cinnamon and almost 1t of nutmeg.  By almost, I mean I didn’t quite fill up the full teaspoon.  And then I cut in 1/2c of margarine.  When it’s nice and crumbly, you can put it over top of your apples.

Because crockpot times vary, once the apples are soft, it is almost done.  We cooked ours at low for about 4 hours.  Once the apples are soft, remove the lid for about an hour so the top to crisp up a bit, and then serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Mario and Luigi Cakepops

A friend of mine recently asked me to make some cakepops for her grandson’s 8th birthday.  Here’s the process!

Start with a plain cake pop:

Next, what you’ll do is attach nose and ears to the pop using melted chocolate.  I used cake, and it worked ok, but next time I’ll use a mini m&m for the nose, and half of one for each ear to make them more uniform.

Dip them in chocolate, I used white chocolate mixed with a little bit of yellow and red food colouring to make it a peachy colour.  I then let them sit over night to harden.

After that, I cut red and green chocolate melts in half.  Using a little bit of the red chocolate, I stuck the half melt in to use as the brim of the hat.

Using a paint brush, I painted the top of the head with the red chocolate to make the hat.

I did both hats in red in green, then put a little white dot on the hat.  I then added a L or an M to the hat.

Here’s how the faces turned out:

And of course Mario needs Luigi:

I hope Cobey enjoys them, and that you did too!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Aka, the reason why there has been leftover pumpkin puree in my house for the pasta recipes.

Hubby and I have been making mini cheesecakes for our local market (ok, ok… he has.  He has totally mastered Martha Stewart’s mini Oreo cheesecakes.  So friggin delicious.)

So I attempted some pumpkin.  I mixed them all together, but he did put them in the pan and bake them.  So he gets credit, too.  Here is the final result:

And here’s the recipe!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake (makes 18-24)

  • ginger cookies
  • 2 blocks cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c greek yogourt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1t allspice
  • 2T flour (maybe – see note)
  • whip cream
  • cinnamon sugar
  1. If the cookies are small enough to fit in your muffin tins, put one cookie in a cupcake liner in the pan.  If they are too large, crush them up, and put the crumbs in.
  2. Beat cream cheese, eggs, sugar, spices, pumpkin, and yogourt.  If the mixture is runny, add the flour.  If it is firm, skip it.  It depends on how watery your pumpkin puree is.  Mine came from a sugar pumpkin, and had a lot of water.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20 mins, or until they are firm.  Take out of the oven and let them cool completely.
  4. When ready to serve, top with a dollop of whip cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  They will look really pretty.  OR… do what I did.  Put the whip cream on, add the cinnamon sugar, have the whip cream melt immediately in the heat, and then put them in the fridge to set.  It tasted really good, and looked pretty neat, too.

Enjoy!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

When my Today’s Parent magazine came in, it had a recipe for Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches.  You can check it out here.  It inspired me.  I didn’t actually make that recipe, I did something different, and here’s how it turned out:

Ice cream sandwich made with brownies and mint chocolate ice cream.

I didn’t use the recipe from TP, because I have a great recipe for brownies.  It’s the chewy low-fat recipe from the Joy of Cooking.  I always use that brownie recipe because it makes delicious brownies.  Plus I usually slather them with peanut butter frosting, or cream cheese frosting… or stuff two of them full of ice cream.  It helps with the guilt.

Anyway, if you would like to try these, they are really simple!

Step 1:  Make brownies.  Your favourite recipe, stuff from a box, anything.  This recipe is pretty forgiving.

Step 2: Whatever size you normally use for your brownies, get a bigger pan.  If you make them in an 8″ square pan, use a 9×13.  I made these in a cookie sheet.  What I do with my brownies is I line the pan with foil, and then spray it with baking Pam.  The edges don’t get all hard, and it comes out of the pan so much easier.

Step 3: Lick the batter off of the bowl while you wait for them to cook.

Step 4: Let cool completely.  While you are letting them cool, set some ice cream out to soften.  If you make a single batch, it will take 1pint of ice cream, a double batch will take a whole litre.

Step 5: Cut the brownie in half, and cover one half with the ice cream.  Layer the other piece on top and then put in the freezer for at least a few hours until the ice cream has re-hardened.  Once it freezes again, cut into pieces.  My double batch makes 16 big pieces.  I do refreeze these and sell them at the market, and they taste delicious!  But you can serve them right away, too.  Just don’t let them sit out too long, or they will get all melty!

 

Next up for me is to try these with sugar cookies.  Yum yum!  I’ll inform you of the delicious results.  🙂

Cocktail Ice Pops

The freezer has been running all out chilling these babies!  First up, my watermelon mojito:

I found this recipe at Endless Simmer, and many others (including a White Russian that turned out beautifully!).  This one is a mocktail, no rum, but it just turned out so pretty that I needed to take a picture of it.  The watermelon floated to the top making it look layered.

And, the pina colada!

Here is the recipe:

1/2 fresh pineapple

1 can of coconut milk (I think it was a 370mL can)

2 T shredded coconut

1 T honey

2 shots of Malibu coconut rum

It made 9 ice pops, which I think are 3oz each.  And they taste super yummy!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Image

Hello, lovely.

Apparently, the Kraft/Philadelphia website were down the other night.  I usually just go to the Kraft website, and use their recipe for peanut butter cheesecake, but I kept getting ‘404 – file not found’.  So I experimented, and this is what I got!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Base:
1/2 cup margarine or butter (I used 1 square of Imperial Margarine)
2 cups of Oreos crumbs

Cheesecake:
2 blocks of cream cheese
1/2 cup of peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1 shot Kahlua
2-3 tbsps of melted chocolate (or 4… or 5…)

Topping:
Crumbled peanut butter cups

Base:
Preheat oven to 325.  Melt your margarine and stir the crumbs in.  Press down into the pan with your fingers.  When we cook cheesecakes, we put a layer of wax paper on top of the springform pan.  Bake for 5-10 minutes.

Cheesecake:
Mix together cream cheese and peanut butter.  Do a little taste test to make sure the peanut butter is strong enough for you.  Add eggs and sugar, and mix.  Add in Kahlua.  You’ll want to grease your spring form pan, just so the cheesecake comes out easily.  I forgot.  I poured in a little of the mixture before I forgot.  Ideally, you would spray some Pam onto the sides after baking the base.  I had to put some margarine onto a piece of paper towel and get the edges that way.  Once your have your mixture poured into the pan, add the melted chocolate, and swirl it around.  Bake at 325 for 30 mins.  If it doesn’t looked cooked at 30 minutes, leave for another 5.  It will brown a little when it is cooked.

Topping:
Once the cheesecake has cooled, crumble some peanut butter cups over top.  I had a bag of the Reese minis in our cupboard, and they all melted together in the heat wave last week.  They were perfect on top.

Enjoy with a big glass of milk!